Halla! I can't figure out how to do the Swedish letters on this computer either, so imagine some of the A's with little circles over them or dots. How are you!? I'm sorry the chickens are slowly dying and I'm hoping that Matt won't find time to ride the horses so you won't be able to sell them. We did get chocolate milk. They actually never ran out, I was just doing it wrong. You have to push up on the dispenser instead of down. Syster Dawson figured it out. She's really smart like that. We study Swedish at least six hours a day, usually closer to eight. We're already teaching lessons and it's so great! (more on that later.) So yeah, if you are wondering what I'm doing, you can assume I'm working on Swedish. It's more like we learn the gospel and how to teach, the teacher just teaches it all in Swedish and we have to figure it out.
I have like no time so I had to figure out which experiences I want to share with you. Reading through my journal (I've been planning out my email time for a couple of hours already before I dared to actually start) I decided to share the first sentence of each day and my favorite part of that day. Ja.
Day one, Wednesday: "This is really it!" As I mentioned earlier, I was in Swedish class before I'd been there more than half an hour, where the teacher Broder Bush talked at us in Swedish. I was at a disadvantage because I was in the last group to get here, so some of the people had been in the class for almost an hour already. But I'm picking it up really fast. The coolest part of the day was when we were in the little welcome devotional meeting, and we sang The Army of Helaman. I wasn't paying attention to the words on the screen because I thought I already knew the song, so I almost missed that one line had been changed to "We are NOW the Lord's missionaries." It was so cool to be able to sing that! Except I didn't have much of a voice, so I didn't sing it very well. My voice came back on...Friday I think. Yeah, Friday, right before we taught for the first time.
Day two, Thursday: "I prayed in Swedish today!" Rest assured that I pray for you every day, partly because "familj" is one of the only things I know how to say that I'm thankful for. That and Undersokare, investigators. I also wrote out my testimony in Swedish on Thursday with minimal notes.
Day three, Friday: "Another great day in the MTC!" Friday was really cool because Syster Dawson and I taught our first lesson. In Swedish. It was really intimidating. First, we forgot our scriptures, BUT it turned out to be a good thing because later we found out they'd given us Norwegian scriptures (like we could tell the difference) so it would have been bad. Anyway, so I've been learning Swedish for less than 48 hours and they put us in a room with an investigator who only speaks Sweidsh. Our conversation went something like this: "Do you believe in God?" "Uh...yeah." "Do you believe God loves you?" "Uh...no." "Well I KNOW God loves you!" (blank stare) "Uh...do you believe Jesus loves you?" "Uh...(indistinguishable Swedish. Note that we have no idea how to say "what did you say?" by this point. So, blank stare/awkward silence)" "Well I KNOW Jesus loves you!" (more blank stares) "Will...will you pray with us?" "Uh...jeah." "Will you say it?" "I don't know how." Luckily we were prepared for that. Not that we'd learned it in Swedish, but we had marked it in the Restoration Pamphlet. (By the way, in the Swedish pamphlets, all the pictures are of Swedish people.) So we handed him the pamphlet, he read it and said a prayer. I have no idea what he said in the prayer, but hey, he prayed. I also bore my testimony and promised that if he prayed, he would feel God's love (Guds karlek). We left him with a commitment to pray about God's love. It was pretty awkward but the Spirit was still SO STRONG!
Day three, Saturday: "The MTC is seriously the coolest place ever." We taught Jonathon again on Saturday (that's our investigator. It's pronounced Yo-nuh-tahn.) It went really well and I knew a lot more Swedish, including how to ask him to repeat himself, which was a real blessing. We had our fourth teacher in four days by then, but we finally found out that we have two official teachers, Broder Bush and Broder Jorgensen. They were both gone for the first few days which is why we were so confused about who was supposed to teach us. But they're great teachers.
Day four, Sunday: "Sundays are the best. Every day is the best." Sunday really was like 12 hours of church, but I loved it! We learned so much and it was great and Syster Dawson and I got so much inspiration about what to teach Jonathon. The relief society speaker was Carole Mikita and she still talks like a news person in real life, you know how they are talking and then randomly they............pause and then keep going like nothing happened? Yeah. She was really inspirational though and had a great conversion story about her whole family. Our branch is the Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Icelanders, and the Dutchies. It's got 89 people right now which is apparently really huge. For Sacrament meeting, everybody has to prepare a talk and you don't know who's talking until they announce it over the pulpit. We went to choir practice, and it was really cool too. Which reminds me, they said they're broadcasting tonight's devotional but I don't know where to. So if you happen to see it, I'll be wearing purple and (if we sit in the same spots) I'll be about the fifth row from the front in the middle of the girls. (I ended up as a second soprano, don't ask me how.) We're singing Nearer My God To Thee, so you'll know if you're watching the right one. Look for me tonight!
Day five, Monday: "I love being a missionary!" We had the BEST lesson yesterday with Jonathon for three reasons. Number one, we brought a hymn book because he loves music and had him read the first verse of Joseph Smith's First Prayer before our lesson. Number two, because we asked him to say the opening prayer and to invite the Spirit to be with us that day. It was even better when HE was the one who invited the Spirit because he was so sincere about it. And it was so strong! Number three, because I let Syster Dawson do more teaching and she bore the most powerful testimony in Swedish. She said so many inspired things that I wouldn't have even thought of, like relating the feeling of the Holy Ghost to how he feels when he plays music. It was great. The best part was, at the end of the lesson he asked if he could finish reading the song. We said OF COURSE, and he finished reading it and looked up at me. I'd just opened my mouth when he said "I'm just like Joseph Smith." He took the words right out of my mouth, only in better Swedish. It was the best ever. I know I keep saying that but it really was just SO POWERFUL.
I've been so excited to hear from you and get to email you. Just so you know, Dear Elder letters are awesome because they really do come the same day and mail is the best. And I can reply to them right away instead of having to wait all the way until P-Day. I don't think Syster Dawson is a hunter, but she is a dancer and we have a lot in common. I'm so thankful that she's my companion. I didn't have to do any running because we found out that you don't have to do the same activity as long as you're both in the gym, so I can play volleyball. I've seen pretty much everyone I know who's here. They're everywhere. The MTC is a small world.
I'm doing great! Gud alskar er! Jag alskar er!
Love, Syster Smith